Nashville voters will elect openly transgender woman Olivia Hill to the City Council for the first time in Tennessee history
- Democrat Olivia Hill, 57, was elected to Nashville’s Metro Council
- The vote was taken despite Tennessee implementing some of the strictest LGBTQ+ laws
- Navy veteran came out as transgender at age 52
For the first time in state history, a transgender woman has been elected to the Nashville City Council.
Navy veteran Olivia Hill, 57, is the first openly transgender person to hold public office in Tennessee.
The “proud” Democrat and three other women won four of the five available positions, creating a historic female majority on the city’s Metro Council.
She served in the U.S. Navy for ten years with two tours in the Persian Gulf, including Desert Storm.
The parent of two and grandparent of four is a transgender activist and women’s rights advocate.
Olivia Hill has made history as the first openly trans person to hold public office in Tennessee, despite the state passing several laws targeting the LGBTQI+ community
Hill is a Democrat and, along with three other women, won a historic majority on the Nashville Metro Council
Her election comes despite Tennessee having some of the strictest laws on LGBTQ+ issues.
In March, the state’s Republican governor, Bill Lee, passed a law banning gender-affirming health care for minors.
He also tried to restrict drag performances, but the law was deemed to violate the freedom of speech enshrined in the First Amendment and was overturned.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the state has passed 19 anti-LGBTQ+ laws since 2015, including bathroom bans and laws banning trans students from playing sports in categories that match their gender identity.
Hill won 37,000 votes in Thursday’s general election after campaigning on infrastructure, improving vehicleless transit options and improving schools.
‘I means I’m excited. For every trans kid in the state of Tennessee who has felt uncomfortable or didn’t belong… We are valid. We are who we say we are. And we’re moving forward’ she said The Tennessean.
Hill came out as a transgender woman at the age of 52 and has been an activist and community campaigner
She also campaigned for more affordable housing and measures to combat homelessness, after moving out of her own home in her early years.
Hill began the medical transition to become a woman in 2017, but said she knew from the age of five that she looked like her “mother and sisters.”
Her mother took her to a psychiatrist to teach her how to “be a boy” and she subsequently joined the Navy, where she adopted a more masculine persona to fit in.
But at age 52, she “came out” as a woman while working at Vanderbilt University.
She successfully sued the university in 2021 for workplace discrimination.
Hill retired after 25 years and now sits on the board of directors of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
She was selected as Grand Marshall at this year’s Pride march in Nashville and is currently writing her first book.